One of the Largest Cybersecurity Breaches in History
Late Thursday, Equifax made their first public statement on a security breach that affects 143 million Americans, and it’s shaping up to be the largest cybersecurity breach in history.
Equifax is one of three of the largest credit reporting agencies in America. If you’ve never heard of them before, don’t feel bad, because I hadn’t either. Their job is to track and rate consumer’s financial history and they do it by retrieving information without your knowledge. They gather information from banks, credit card companies, lenders, and retailers.
Top Executives Sell Shares
The security breach was discovered on July 29th, and on August 1st, some of Equifax’s top executives sold their shares for as much as $946,374. It wasn’t until just yesterday, almost two months later, that consumers were notified of the breach.
Was my information affected?
Equifax has launched a site providing consumers with a way to check if their information was affected.
You will be prompted to enter your last name, and last six digits of your social security number, and then will be given one of two messages.
“We believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident,” or “We believe that your personal information was not impacted by this incident.”
Identity Theft Protection and Credit Monitoring
Whether or not your information was impacted, you’re given the option to enroll in the free TrustedID Premier program which provides identity theft protection and credit file monitoring.
After checking the potential impact of your information, you’re given a date to return to the website to enroll in TrustedID Premier.
Before you can enroll, you have to wait. Seems fair – Equifax suffers a major security breach and doesn’t tell us for months, but in the meantime some of their top executives are makin’ it rain.
What about waiving my rights to sue?
People who have been able to enroll have stirred up speculated of the Terms and Conditions of the program. They fear they are waiving their rights to sue Equifax, but Equifax has since debunked the claim by clearly stating there is “no waiver of rights for this cybersecurity incident,” on their website.
It’s going to be a long, hard waiting game if you are one of the 143 million, but until you receive concrete evidence there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Steps to Protect Yourself
You can request your free annual credit report and start checking for discrepancies. The website compiles helpful tips and information if you find errors on your report or fear your identity has or will be stolen.
Keep in mind, your annual credit report means you can only access it once a year. You can regularly check your credit score by using a free credit report website, like Credit Karma.
If my information has been stolen, where is it?
News of who is responsible for the data breach has yet to surface, but our information may soon, if it’s not already, be available for people to purchase on The Dark Web.
Keep in Mind:
- It is always important to monitor your credit information and to act diligently if you notice errors.
- Consumers who are affected by Equifax’s security breach may not notice changes in their information for days, months, and maybe years to come.
Protecting Ourselves and the People We Love
Many investigations and lawsuits are to come and a lot of work is going to have to be done. It’s important to try to keep things in perspective though. Yes, it’s a terrible situation for all parties involved, but the best thing we can do as consumers, and Americans, is to make sure we have accurate information and protect ourselves and the people we love.